Riverside County Releases Details of Mandatory Spay/Neuter and Mandatory Microchip Ordinances

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors has released the specifics of their mandatory...

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors has released the specifics of their mandatory spay/neuter ordinance and mandatory microchip proposal. The measure will require all dogs and cats to be spayed or neutered unless the owner qualifies for and purchases an intact animal license. A first violation of the mandatory spay/neuter ordinance can result in a fine of up to $250, and a second violation will result in a fine of up to $1,000 or by imprisonment in the county jail of up to six months.

Even though a narrow exemption is provided for show dogs, it is imperative that fanciers unite to oppose this measure. Once these ordinances are adopted, it is easy to revise them to severely restrict or even eliminate these narrow exemptions. Most every fancier can recall a year when they were unable to show every intact animal they owned. These ordinances are burdensome to all who love purebred dogs, and are detrimental to responsible owners and breeders.

To be eligible for an unaltered dog license, a dog must meet the criteria for a competition dog.” A “competition dog” must be registered with the AKC, UKC, ADBA or other valid registry approved by the Riverside County Department of Animal Services. Competition dogs must also meet one of the following requirements:

  • The dog has competed in at least one dog show or sporting competition in the past year.
     
  • The dog has earned a conformation, obedience, agility, carting, herding, protection, rally, sporting, working or other title from a purebred registry as recognized by Riverside County Department of Animal Services.
     
  • The owner is a member of a purebred dog breed club, approved by the county, which maintains and enforces a code of ethics that includes restrictions from breeding dogs with genetic defects and life threatening health problems that commonly threaten the breed.
     
  • The dog is trained and used for herding of other livestock, or as livestock guardians, hunting dogs or such dogs “designated as breeding stock by an appropriate agency or organization approved by the Department after consultation with knowledgeable professionals.”
     
  • Dogs that are boarded in a licensed kennel, which boards and professionally trains such animals for use and resale.


Narrow exemptions are provided for dogs that are used by law enforcement agencies, service animals and dogs that have been certified by a veterinarian as being unable to be safely spayed or neutered.

A license can be revoked or denied by the department for any of the following; upon receipt of two sworn complaints, if the owner has been cited for any violation of a state or local animal control law, or if the dog is deemed dangerous. Owners whose applications are denied or whose license is revoked are entitled to a hearing, which would be conducted by a hearing officer appointed by the animal control department.

Breeders are required to notify the animal control department within thirty days of a litter being whelped and must provide the name, address and telephone number of the new owner. All puppies must be microchipped prior to sale.

Riverside County is also considering a separate mandatory microchipping ordinance. All dogs and cats over the age of four months are required to be microchipped and the owner is required to provide that number to the Riverside County Department of Animal Services. Owners are required to notify the Department, as well as the national registry applicable to the chip, of any change in ownership.

The American Kennel Club encourages pet owners to spay or neuter their dogs if they do not want to participate in AKC conformation, field trial events or engage in responsible breeding programs. Through our public education department we support programs dedicated to educating the pet buying public on how to find a responsible breeder and how to make well-informed decisions when obtaining a dog. Such programs help to ensure that pet purchasers find a puppy or dog that is a good fit for their lifestyle, at an appropriate time in their lives, thereby increasing the likelihood that the animal will stay with the owners its entire life.

These methods, coupled with strongly enforced animal control laws (such as leash laws) and increased public education efforts are the most effective ways to address irresponsible dog owners while at the same time reducing shelter numbers and improving public safety. To the contrary, mandatory spay/neuter ordinances are extremely difficult to enforce, can be evaded by irresponsible animal owners, and punish responsible breeders who raise purebred dogs for their enjoyment of the sport. They also negatively impact owners who keep intact animals not to breed, but to participate in conformation and performance events.


What You Can Do:

  • Write a letter to your representative on the Riverside County Board of Supervisors.

    To find out who represents you on the Riverside County Board of Supervisors please click here http://www.tlma.co.riverside.ca.us/
    gis/gisbasicquery2.html
    .  


    Supervisor Bob Buster - DISTRICT 1 (Chairman)
    County Administrative Center
    4080 Lemon Street, 5th Floor
    Riverside, California 92501
    (951) 955-1010
    district1@rcbos.org


    Lake Elsinore Office
    2499 East Lakeshore Drive
    Lake Elsinore, CA 92530
    (951) 245-3330


    Supervisor John F. Tavaglione – DISTRICT 2 (Vice-Chairman)
    County Administrative Center
    4080 Lemon Street - 5th Floor
    Riverside, California 92501
    (951) 955-1020
    district2@rcbos.org


    Supervisor Jeff Stone – DISTRICT 3
    County Administrative Center
    4080 Lemon Street - 5th Floor
    Riverside, California 92501
    (951) 955-1030
    district3@rcbos.org


    Supervisor Roy Wilson – DISTRICT 4
    County Administrative Center
    4080 Lemon Street - 5th Floor
    Riverside, California 92501
    (951) 955-1040


    District Office
    73-710 Fred Waring Drive, Suite 222
    Palm Desert, CA 92260
    (760) 863-8211
    district4@rcbos.org


    Supervisor Marion Ashley – DISTRICT 5
    County Administrative Center
    4080 Lemon Street - 5th Floor
    Riverside, California 92501
    (951) 955-1050
    district5@rcbos.org


    District Office:
    14375 Nason St. Suite 207
    Moreno Valley, CA 92555


    Desert/Pass Office:
    50290 Main St.
    Cabazon, CA 92230



Points to Consider:

  • Mandatory spay/neuter is an ineffective solution to animal control problems because it fails to address the heart of the issue—irresponsible ownership.  Mandatory spay/neuter laws are extremely difficult to enforce and can be evaded by irresponsible animal owners by not licensing their pets.  More regulations increase the workload of already financially strained animal control offices, making it even more difficult for them to perform their duties.
     
  • Spay/neuter requirements target all owners regardless of their actions and would restrict the many responsible breeders who raise and breed purebred dogs for their enjoyment of the sport.  These breeders make a serious commitment to their animals, not to make a profit, but instead with the intention of promoting the sport of purebred dogs and improving the individual breeds.
     
  • Strongly enforced animal control laws (such as leash laws), and increased public education efforts are better ways to address the issue of irresponsible dog ownership.  A public education campaign would help teach community residents about how to properly care for their pets, as well as the need to be a responsible pet owner. 


For further information please contact the AKC’s Canine Legislation Department at 919-816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org